Online learning is a revolution in professional development.

What used to be exclusive and reserved only for the privileged (those with time, money, or family legacy), online learning makes available to anyone who can access the internet. Online learning enables you to be selective—unlike universities judging you and shepherding you through their curricula, you choose your teachers, you choose your program, and you choose your direction.

Rapunzel has escaped from the Ivory Tower! With the business skills she gained from Udemy, she now drives around, running a successful barber shop truck. Last seen in LA with cornrows, blasting her signature rap music. Not waiting for a guy to rescue her.

I digress.

MasterClass is one of the newer kids on the online learning block, but its positioning is anything but inexperienced.

While most online learning sites are bright (white background, vibrant colors), the MasterClass website is…black. Black lends a sense of sophistication that, far from being disheartening, conveys a quiet authority and confidence.

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But before getting more into the site, let’s pause for a second to consider the name: MasterClass. This isn’t NewbClass. It’s for those who are serious about quality, who don’t want anything dumbed down, who want nothing short of the top. The logo is a strong, bold M with lines that remind us of stagelights—a grand, professional production. Clean and timeless.

MClogo

Extending the stagelights idea, the site design reminds me of video-streaming sites like Netflix and Prime Video. While those sites can often look chaotic, though, MasterClass takes a calm, centered layout, magnifying the focus on the celebrity. Hover over anyone of the images and the celebrity very subtly is zoomed towards you, giving the illusion of intimacy. Brings to mind LinkedIn’s slogan: “You’re closer than you think.” (My screenshot doesn’t show this effect; you’ll have to visit the site.)

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Click through, if you’re intrigued…and you’re greeted by a full frontal video of the master. Close without being in-your-face, this gives the feeling of a one-on-one meeting. A private, tutor-like relationship, which, if you are a fan of any of the celebrity instructors, might be a dizzyingly exciting idea. The surrounding black reinforces that feeling of privacy while immersing you in the scene—no hard lines separate their greatness from being shed upon you.

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In areas without images, the centered layout reinforces the classiness of MasterClass. It’s like a menu at a candlelit restaurant, one where you can expect an expertly crafted dining experience. Or the box office signs at a fancy theater, one where you can expect plush seats, up close to the action.

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In either case, restaurant or theater, you get to be served your choice.

And that’s one of the best things about online learning. As I’m sure Rapunzel would agree.